Lisa Markwell: Waiting game that's a new experience for children

FreeView from the editors at i

Share
Related Topics

The waiting is almost over. By the time you read this it might be over. The results received; the path decided upon. But at the time of writing, it's still about the waiting.

Yup, GCSE results day is *of importance* in the Markwell household. The past two months (to say nothing of the past five years) have been leading up to this point. My son's right to privacy precludes me from going into detail about how things might look after 10am this morning, but what has been fascinating is the process of waiting.

Children's idea of waiting is opening a door on the advent calendar, the delay until Christmas sweetened each day by a square of chocolate. Otherwise it's birthdays, broken down from the day after the last one into small increments ("I'm eight and two-thirds"). Generally what children have to wait for is good. It is only now, at 16, that they must face waiting for results in the same way that adults do, anxiously.

That's a hard lesson – that results aren't always the ones you want, or expect. That there isn't always the reward of the presents under the tree after 24 days of folding back cardboard doors. Indeed, without any tangible reward to get their hands on tomorrow (apart from a piece of paper) it was never going to be easy for the majority of children, who aren't naturally studious, to sustain a sensible combination of patience and expectation.

I had plenty of time to think about waiting while I made an unscheduled stop in the A&E department of St Mary's Hospital in London on Monday. What I thought would be a reassuring once-over that would take perhaps an hour and end with a letter for my GP turned into an epic 14 hours. Most of that time, once the initial pain that has sent me there had receded, was spent waiting for the results of tests.

With no battery life on my phone, no book and no one to talk to, the wait seemed interminable. After I'd rearranged my handbag (amazing how you can spin it out if you shuffle your credit cards really s-l-o-w-l-y), I drifted into that twilight zone where the outside world disappears. Like a teenager vacantly playing a computer game, I idly watched the comings and goings of patients in the Clinical Decision Unit. But I could never quite get the thought out of my mind that with the next swing of the ward door could come some unwelcome news for me.

And this morning comes the educational equivalent of a doctor holding a buff envelope with a scan in it. Welcome to our world, kids, where results are greeted with relief, not because of the outcome, but simply because the wait is over.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: IT Technical Support Engineer - PC/Mac

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company are cur...

Ashdown Group: Product Manager - (Product Marketing, Financial Services)

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Marke...

Recruitment Genius: External Relations Executive

£33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An External Relations Executive is requi...

Ashdown Group: Web Developer (PHP & Wordpress) - Central London

£25000 - £28000 per annum + 25 days holidays & pension: Ashdown Group: Web Dev...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Daily catch-up: the old Palace of Westminster; Batman vs Superman; and more Greenery

John Rentoul
British Prime Minister Tony Blair (L) pictured shaking hands with Libyan leader Colonel Moamer Kadhafi on 25 March 2004.  

There's nothing wrong with Labour’s modernisers except how outdated they look

Mark Steel
Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee